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By 18th January 2017 0 Comments Read More →

CHILDREN’S THEATRE MAGAZINE COMMENT: Perni Morel and the Unicorn Theatre marked down by the The Stage in their 100 most influential theatre people – why?

With The Stage publishing its 100 top theatre movers and shakers this month, Harry Mottram takes exception to the near invisibility of children’s theatre in the list

Andrew Lloyd Webber may have suggested last year that The Stage’s 100 Most Influential Theatre People was ‘hideously white’ (he’s number two this time) but he might also have said ‘hidiously only for grown ups.’ Compared to children’s theatre adult theatre is over represented in the industry’s leading publication with the 100 people chosen by the editorial staff of The Stage following nominations from 50 individuals in the business.

Purni Morell of the Unicorn Theatre

Purni Morell of the Unicorn Theatre

Producer Sonia Friedman who produced Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last year is placed at number one, but The Unicorn Theatre’s artistic director Perni Morell is downgraded on the list from 47 to 54.
This despite the staging of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play My Father Odysseus to great acclaim and the Unicorn continuing to promote some of the most creative shows to be staged in 2016 in London.

Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play My Father Odysseus was staged at The Unicorn in 2016

Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play My Father Odysseus was staged at The Unicorn in 2016

Others listed in the 100 by The Stage included Jamie Hendry at 74 who brought the musical version of Wind in the Willows to the stage, director Marianne Elliott who was behind War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, and writer Jack Thorne who wrote the script for the Harry Potter play.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Timothy Sheader (37) get a mention for the puppetry in Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, as does Thomas Schumacher for his work with Walt Disney Theatrical Productions that includes The Lion King and Aladdin.
There are other credits in the industry listing such as producer Micahel Harrison who put pantomime back on at the London Paladium, while the young Vic and RSC along with Shakespeare’s Globe are all mentioned in dispatches for their work with bringing the bard’s plays to the attention of A-level and GCSE students amongst wider audiences.

Tim Webb, Artistic Director Oily Cart

Tim Webb, Artistic Director Oily Cart

Ambassador’s pantomimes and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins are fine family shows but strictly speaking do not have school children only in mind for their titanic sized productions. Considering children make up around 20% of potential audiences the list makes for lean pickings.
So with this in mind Children’s Theatre Magazine will seek to compile a list of some of the key figures in children’s theatre in 2017. Clearly there are many obvious candidates including Perni Morel at the Unicorn and our very own Flossie Waite of Children’s Theatre Reviews and of course Tim Webb of Oily Cart.

In a Pickle is another fine production by Oily Cart

In a Pickle is another fine production by Oily Cart

There’s the work of Graeme Savage at the egg Theatre in Bath with its dedicated programme of productions for younger audiences, and the Half Moon Theatre and Polka Theatre in London. The list is not difficult to produce with numerous actors, musicians and directors who bring so much to so many.

Children’s Theatre Magazine’s movers and shakers
If you have someone in mind and the reasons why you feel they should be highlighted then email childrenstheatremagazine@hotmail.com

Follow Harry Mottram and Harry The Spiv on Facebook and Twitter – and visit www.childrenstheatemagazine.co.uk

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